Sept. 14, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State head soccer coach Patrick Baker handed out Florida State’s player of the week and newcomer of the week awards at practice Thursday evening. Fifth-year senior, and first-time starter Heather Dyche was chosen as the Seminoles’ player of the week after her two assist performance against two of the nation’s best teams at the Wake Forest/Invitational last weekend. Midfielder Jez Ratliff was honored as FSU’s top newcomer last week as she recorded her first-ever collegiate goal and played consistently well all weekend against the highest level of competition.
“Heather did a great job in the back all weekend and her ability to provide service resulted in both of our goals,” said Baker. “She got us back into two big games. She gave us opportunities to try and change the complexion of the game. Timely service is a great weapon to have and on top of that, she possess great range.”
Heather Dyche had a stellar weekend against No. 2 Portland and No. 6 Santa Clara as she assisted on both of FSU’s goals at the Wake Forest Invitational. Dyche played solid in the back and her free kicks were a key to Florida State’s offensive success all tournament long as she notched both of her assists off of set pieces. She assisted on FSU’s goal against Portland that evened the game at 1-1. Her free kick to the far post was headed on goal by sophomore Amber Tollefson. As Portland keeper Darci Carruthers dove to pick up the ball from the line, Jez Ratliff stuck the ball into the net to equalize the game at 1-1. Dyche’s next assist brought FSU within a goal of Santa Clara when she sent a free kick deep into the Broncos’ penalty box where freshman Camie Bybee headed in her first-ever collegiate goal beating SCU keeper Alyssa Sobolik. The assists were the first of the senior’s career and both came at vital points of the Seminoles’ two matches.
“It is really a nice honor,” said Dyche. “First of all, just playing right now is a big step for me and that has always been my main goal. The fact that coach Baker has chosen to honor me like that makes just being on the field for my senior year that much more special.”
Ratliff, one of the five members of Florida State’s 8th-ranked recruiting class, has been paying immediate dividends since stepping on to the pitch for Florida State. In her first game as a Seminole, the Oklahoma native recorded the first game-winning assist of her career helping Florida State start the season at 1-0 with a 3-2 win over George Mason. She continued to play at an extremely high level as FSU traveled to Winston Salem, NC to face two teams ranked in the top six in the nation.
“I thought against two of the country’s best teams, Jez was consistently our best newcomer,” said Baker. “Playing her wide in the midfield and playing her up top a little too, she was able to stretch the opponents defense, she was able to run at people, create some havoc and she gave us a much needed lift. Against Portland, we were down a goal and she evens the match after just being inserted into the game on what was basically her first touch. She also had some great runs against Santa Clara. In a big time environment, she showed very well for herself.”
Ratliff’s goal against Portland was a huge lift for FSU. The second-ranked Pilots had gone on top of the Seminoles less than ten minutes into the match and FSU was looking for a way to climb back into the game against a team that was a goal away from playing for the national championship in 2000. Ratliff had been substituted into the game and on basically her first touch, she scored the equalizing goal to bring FSU even with second-ranked Portland. The Norman, OK native led FSU in points, shot percentage and shot on goal percentage for the weekend and picked up her first newcomer of the week honors for the 2000 season.
“I was really excited to hear that coach Baker had chosen me for this honor,” said Ratliff. “It is a real big deal to me to because it shows that he is getting a little bit of what he expected when he recruited me and I am showing a little better than I was at the start of the season. It shows that he likes what I am doing.”